Hong Kong, whose name means “fragrant harbor,” has become the world’s largest wine market, surpassing both New York and London. The rise can be attributed to the absence of taxes on wine products and increased interest from Chinese buyers.
Sotheby’s conducted a satisfying US$8 million in wine transactions in Hong Kong last month. The city has become the most important wine market for the UK-based auction house.
Auction sales of wine in Hong Kong have reached US$14.3 million so far this year, the local Sing Tao Daily quoted Sotheby’s as saying. Asian buyers accounted for 99% of total buyers in a two-day auction in Hong Kong last month, the auction house said.
New York and London, considered the global hubs of the wine trade, only reported sales of US$10.5 million and US$8 million respectively as of Nov. 11.
Christie’s meanwhile said that Asian buyers only accounted for 7% of total buyers at auctions in New York, London and Hong Kong in 2008 but the proportion had climbed to 61% by the first quarter of the year.
John Tsang, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, said sales of imported wine reached US$1.2 billion in 2011 from US$200 million in 2007, the year the tax-free policy was introduced.